Our Story: Inspired by one family's journey


Founded in 2006 as a salute to Connor Goodwin, who triumphed after 2-1/2 years of cancer treatment as a preschooler, Connor's Heroes® developed out of one family's struggle with childhood cancer.

Follow our journey from being established to today.

Thursday - August 21, 2003

Connor’s Cancer Diagnosis

Connor was diagnosed with leukemia (ALL) when he was 22 months old. His sister, Emily, was just 6 weeks old at the time.  He endured 2-1/2 years of treatment, both in and out of the hospital. Throughout his treatment, Connor and his family were surrounded by the support of family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and others in their community and throughout the country.

Tuesday - March 7, 2006

Connor’s last day of treatment for leukemia

We celebrate Connor's "other birthday" with a cake each year. We truly know how lucky we are that we are able to keep celebrating this milestone.

Friday - May 19, 2006

Connor’s Heroes Foundation was established

During Connor's treatment, his parents met many other families who were not fortunate enough to have the community of support that they had. After learning more about other organizations in their community, and that there were still many unmet needs of families, Connor's parents decided to start Connor's Heroes Foundation as a salute to all of the HEROES in their lives and a way to help others through their childhood cancer journey.

Thursday - June 8, 2006

Our first fundraiser

"The World Cup Challenge," which kicked off on June 8, 2006, at Bandito's Burrito Lounge, was our first fundraiser. Connor's favorite superhero, Spiderman, even made a surprise visit!

Friday - September 1, 2006

Our first mention in the press

With this great cover story in West End's Best, we had to move quickly to build our website (many thanks to PUNCH), design informational materials, and formalize our first program.

Monday - January 1, 2007

Official Launch of Heroes Bags and Backpacks

Connor gave out his first Heroes Backpack to his best friend he made during treatment, Owen. The Heroes Bags and Backpacks program officially kicked off in January 2007, at the same time we launched our official website. 

Wednesday - May 23, 2007

Providing Musical Experiences

In partnership with Innsbrook After Hours, we provided many families with free concert tickets and sometimes the opportunity to meet the musicians too!

Saturday - June 30, 2007

Anthem Quest for the Cure

Our largest fundraiser since we started, this event included a professional treasure hunt through Carytown and culminated with a Richmond Kickers soccer game.  Proceeds benefitted the Jamie Hess Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Fund.

Tuesday - September 25, 2007

C4:  Childhood Cancer Community Consortium

Connor's Heroes and Robyn Dillon (social worker at CHOR at VCU) initiated C4: Childhood Cancer Community Consortium, in an effort to bring together all of the various organizations who support children with cancer and their families and to create a resource book that families could utilize during treatment and beyond.

Friday - November 23, 2007

Pediatric Cancer Research Endowment Fund is established

We established the first Pediatric Cancer Research Endowment Fund in the Department of Pediatrics at the VCU School of Medicine and VCU Massey Cancer Center. The fund will be utilized exclusively to support pediatric cancer research with the ultimate goal of recruiting a nationally recognized pediatric cancer researcher to VCU.

Friday - November 30, 2007

Press Release Announcing Research Fund

This press release announced our initial gift to establish the Pediatric Cancer Research Endowment Fund. So began, our efforts to find cures and improve treatments for children with cancer.

Saturday - January 26, 2008

With help from about 40 volunteers, we assembled 80 backpacks for patients and 80 tote bags for the parents of just-diagnosed children.

Thursday - November 6, 2008

Tommy Hilfiger Supports Connor’s Heroes

Tommy Hilfiger, Alex Garfield, and Connor spent some time in front of the cameras to encourage everyone to "be a hero" to children with cancer. 

Tuesday - December 16, 2008

Connor’s Heroes Donates $60,510.40 to Childhood Cancer Research

Connor's Heroes Foundation presented a check for $60,510.40 to the VCU Massey Cancer Center. The money was split between the Jamie Hess Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Research Fund and the Pediatric Cancer Research Endowment Fund.

Thursday - June 11, 2009

On Track for the Cure

Connor's great friends and inspiration during treatment, The Sam Bush Band, and The Waybacks held a benefit concert at the Tracks at the Science Museum. Proceeds were directed to the Pediatric Cancer Research Endowment Fund.

Wednesday - July 1, 2009

Christmas in July

Connor's Heroes' volunteers visit the outpatient pediatric oncology clinic to spread some "holiday" cheer. We give a gift bag to every child in the clinic -- whether they are a patient, sibling, or friend there for moral support. We also do crafts with them while they're in the waiting room.

Friday - October 16, 2009

The PJ Gaier Memorial Golf  and the Village Bank Golf Tournaments combined raised over $40,000 for Connor's Heroes this year!

Friday - November 20, 2009

The Room of Possibilities was created  to provide a comforting and healing room for bone marrow transplant (BMT) patients and families. This new room offers a desktop and laptop computer, large screen television and DVD player, Wii game system, board games, books, and arts and crafts supplies.

Sunday - August 15, 2010

Connor’s Heroes Night at the Flying Squirrels Game

We treated Connor's Heroes families to free tickets and "acorn bucks" to make it a great day for everyone.  Five childhood cancer Superheroes had the opportunity to throw out a first pitch and one also got to sing "Take me out to the ballgame" for the crowd. The first 2,500 youth fans even received a Metal Lunchbox presented by Connor's Heroes!

Wednesday - August 18, 2010

Our First Parents’ Night Out

With the help of Kangaroo Jac's, Romp N Roll - West End, and Capital Ale House, Connor's Heroes hosted its first Parent's Night Out.  While the kids bounced around with their Sidekicks, we treated their parents to a yummy meal and some much-needed "grown-up" time.

Tuesday - August 31, 2010

Superheroes & Sidekicks Program Launched

We recognized that patients and their siblings just need to have some fun and try to forget about cancer for a little while.  This program is designed to ease the burdens of treatment by pairing community volunteer Sidekicks with children who are battling cancer and their siblings.  We were so grateful to the Altria Companies Employee Community Fund for a grant of $15,000 to help us get started.

Monday - November 29, 2010

Featured in a National Magazine

National magazine, "Woman's World" featured Connor's Heroes, its co-founder Lisa Goodwin, and namesake, Connor in it's "Doing Good" section.

Sunday - April 3, 2011

Heroes Creating Art

In conjunction with The Heroes Art Ball, we hold several art sessions with our Heroes and professional artists.  This informal "art therapy" is fun for all!

Friday - May 13, 2011

The Heroes Art Ball - our first gala

To celebrate our 5th anniversary, we brought our childhood cancer Heroes and their families together with our donor community for a magical night!  Our Heroes were so proud to have their artistic masterpieces sold during a live auction and we all loved dancing together and celebrating life!

Saturday - May 21, 2011

Pediatric Oncology Prom

We collaborated with the hospital, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and ASK and rolled out the red carpet to provide the First Annual Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Prom for all ages.  By holding the Prom at the hospital, many hospitalized patients were able to attend.  We provided dresses and suits to anyone who needed them and we danced the night away.

Sunday - September 18, 2011

What better way to commemorate Childhood Cancer Awareness Month than with a family-friendly children's music festival?  National recording star, Dan Zanes, headlined the First Annual event.

Saturday - September 1, 2012

Back to School, Back to Giving

To commemorate Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we initiated this campaign to help fund our Heroes Bags and Backpacks program.  We were blown away by Eagle Scout candidate, Christian Colwell, who was inspired to raise over $1,700 and collect enough donations to fill 50 backpacks.

Thursday - November 1, 2012

Lunch Bunch Launches

In collaboration with CJs Thumbs Up Foundation, we are providing a healthy lunch to all patients and caregivers on the pediatric inpatient floor of the hospital.  

Thursday - January 24, 2013

St. Christopher's boys, Junior Kindergarten through 12th grade, came together as ONE to pack over 80 backpacks with their donations. They also raised over $1,000 and donated over $1,700 in gift cards.

Thursday - February 21, 2013

We treated 10 of our childhood cancer patients and their families to a behind-the-scenes visit with the circus, then had dinner, and enjoyed the full show!

Friday - September 6, 2013

We are so excited to have our new website.  We hope you like it too!

Sunday - September 22, 2013


Once again, thousands of people spent an afternoon dancing, clapping and singing at DiggityFest. Thousands of dollars were raised for Connor's Heroes during September's Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Friday - November 1, 2013

Named Connor’s Heroes Pediatric Cancer Research Fund

The endowed fund is fully funded with a million dollars. Connor's Heroes, Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU and VCU Massey Cancer Center begin the search for an endowed chair to lead doctors in research for treatments, cures and prevention of childhood cancer.

Friday - May 2, 2014

2014 Heroes Art Ball

Our Heroes Art Ball continued to bring people together in support of our Hero families.

Sunday - September 21, 2014


Monday - October 27, 2014

Introducing Our Care Journal

Much like the baby journal, this journal has a page for each day in the bone marrow transplant process. Caregivers record the ups and downs and milestones during their child's treatment.

Tuesday - November 4, 2014

Connor Interviewed on WRIC

Connor talked about his experience with leukemia (ALL) and reminded us how easy it is for us to be a hero to a child with cancer.

Tuesday - November 25, 2014

2014 Annual Giving

The post office had many surprises for us. We received financial gifts from hundreds of people. Best of all were the holiday cards showing the smiling faces of some of the children who are part of the Connor's Heroes community.

Friday - March 6, 2015

Connor’s Cancerversary

Lisa wrote a blog reflecting on the nine years since his last treatment. It was one of our most popular blog posts.

Friday - May 1, 2015

2015 Heroes Art Ball

For the first time ever, the Heroes Art Ball raised $100,000 (net)!

Tuesday - June 30, 2015

Sunday Funday

Volunteers started a Young Professionals Group. Their first event was a Sunday Funday. Hero children and their families worked on seasonal crafts and projects for the upcoming Heroes Art Ball.

Tuesday - August 11, 2015

Volunteer Program Committee

Several parents of our Heroes volunteered for our Program Committee. Their children are in different stages of their cancer journeys. Together, they will develop activities and improve the services for the families.

Sunday - September 27, 2015

2015 DiggityFest

This year's event was special because it was the Diggity Dudes' farewell performance.

Thursday - October 1, 2015

Dr. Corey Named Endowed Chair

The Connor's Heroes Foundation Board of Directors, along with co-founders Steve and Lisa Goodwin, welcomed Seth J. Corey, M.D., M.P.H, as the first endowed chair in pediatric cancer research. Opening a new chapter to finding cures and improving treatments for cancer's youngest patients.

Monday - November 16, 2015

Ultimate 80s Bash

Our Young Professionals Group hosted their first gala event, The Ultimate 80s Bash. Sponsored by Northwestern Mutual, the night feature live music and lots of leg-warmers and neon colors. 

Sunday - December 13, 2015

Tacky Lights Tour

Thanks to a grant from Altria Companies Employee Community Fund for our Superhero and Sidekick programs, we treated families to a tour of Richmond's tacky lights throughout the city.

Thursday - December 31, 2015

2015 Annual Giving

This year's theme was "Believe." We asked if you believed a community of heroes can help a child through cancer. You said "yes!" This year's campaign raised more money than 2014.

Friday - January 1, 2016

10 Year Anniversary

2016 marks the 10-year anniversary of the founding of Connor's Heroes.

Friday - May 6, 2016

2016 Heroes Art Ball

The night raised more than $200,000 including $10,000 for a piece of Hero's art.

Wednesday - June 1, 2016

Impressions of Courage

Families donate clothing to be a part of the art installation called "Impressions of Courage" - a 1,000-foot long banner printed with the clothes and names of cancer heroes - created by Art On Wheels.

Thursday - September 1, 2016

Heroes of RVA

A photo series that ran on social media featuring the compelling stories of our patients, parents and caregivers.

Monday - October 31, 2016

$100,000 To Research

Our single, largest donation for pediatric cancer research conducted in Richmond.

Tuesday - November 1, 2016

2016 Annual Giving

Katie was the face for our annual giving campaign, raising money for our programs and research.

Monday - January 16, 2017

Cover of Metro Business

Reporter Katie Demeria interviewed Lisa, Callen's mom and Dr. Corey for a cover article about our pediatric cancer research fund.

Friday - May 5, 2017

2017 Heroes Art Ball

Thanks to sponsors (like Kaplan Voekler Cunningham & Frank PLC) and our generous guests, we raised $65,000 more than last year's Heroes Art Ball.

Thursday - June 1, 2017

$250,000 Grant for Research

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation Innovation Award awarded the grant to Seth Corey, MD, MPH and Hrishikesh “Rishi” Mehta, PhD for the Connor's Heroes Pediatric Cancer Research Fund.